The H-1B program allows employers to hire skilled foreign workers in specialty occupations and authorizes the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the U.S. There are some protections in place to help to ensure that the program is not used to discriminate against or replace U.S. workers, however.

Some U.S. workers with similar qualifications and experience may be protected from discrimination by their employer in favor of an H-1B worker. Some U.S. workers can’t be fired within 90 days before or after an employer petitions to hire H-1B workers in similar jobs.

For some positions, H-1B “dependent employers” and “willful violators” must show that they recruited and offered jobs to some U.S. applicants who are “equally or better qualified.” Workers can contact the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice if they believe an H-1B employer refused to hire them or displaced them in favor of H-1B workers.

Also, an employer may not discriminate against applicants or employees because of their national origin.

Questions? We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your rights as a worker. Many questions about your rights may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisor:

U.S. workers and H-1B workers who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B fraud or abuse may choose to email the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can also report allegations of H-1B violations by submitting Form WH-4 to the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). For additional assistance, please contact:

Interpretation is available in many languages.

Learn about filing a complaint

We’ll inform you of your options for filing a discrimination complaint with IER or WHD if you choose to do so. You must file a complaint with IER within at least 180 days of the alleged violation, or with the WHD within 12 months of the alleged violation to take further legal action, so it is best to begin the process early.

Please note that it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you because you filed a complaint with IER or WHD, or cooperated in an enforcement activity.

File with IER File with WHD